[Vacation - valid untill July 2014] Central Asia 2020

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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby ender516 on Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:48 pm

Finally got around to taking a good look at this topic and map.

....

Good lord, what have I signed up for?

Ah, that which does not kill us, and all that sort of thing, eh, folks?
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:23 am

That's why we asked you: no one else would do. And we are so happy to have you on board.... The good thing is that we're at the start of the process, so you can start looking at this at your leisure. Many tanks for joining the team!
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[Official] Design Brief Submissions

Postby Industrial Helix on Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:21 pm

Here's a heads up on the status of this map as I noticed you posted in the Design Briefs thread, Rask. Please don't post anything but submitted Design Briefs in that thread. Thanks!

The map is stickied to acknowledge that a brief has been submitted. Ideally, being stickied should gather some attention from other map makers and critics and get the map ready for the next phase. While its being stickied and hopefully gathering support and attention, the other carto mods and I will discuss the map and come to a consensus on whether or not the map should advance.

So hopefully not too long, I've got the day off tomorrow and should be able to convene with Tacktix at some point. The other mods are a little tricky to catch, but I expect no longer than the weekend before you hear back from us. In the meantime, do what you can to get some critiques on the new map :)
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Re: [Official] Design Brief Submissions

Postby Raskholnikov on Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:32 pm

Thanks, great feedback! I wasn't quite sure about the stickied status. Maybe when that happens to a map you can post a little note like the one you just did.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Industrial Helix on Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:17 am

Ah crap I posted all that in the design brief thread and didn't even follow my own advice... so i move it here as i intended it.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby TaCktiX on Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:45 pm

The map is looking substantially better. A couple of minor typoes in the bottom:
- US 5th Fleet instead of Fleets
- Terrorists can attack each other and bombard all refineries within 2 territories
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:50 pm

Thanks. We noticed too. We will revise all texts for the next version and eliminate typoes.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby natty dread on Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:45 am

Ok, while waiting for this to move to gameplay, I have a slight critique: the territory Arunachal. Now that you have the other seas as territories, putting Arunachal's army number on top of water looks kinda confusing... Is there any way you could maybe enlargen the Arunachal territory slightly, just enough to fit the army number in it? From what I see it shouldn't need much, just a few pixels.

Other than that this is a vast improvement from the first version. Good job.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:10 am

Yes, pamoa did an excellent job here. We'll incorporate the Arunchal suggestion in the next version. Thanks for your comments, Natty.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Industrial Helix on Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:59 pm

Movin' on up...
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Industrial Helix on Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:36 pm

Alright, now that you're in the gameplay workshop I'm gonna offer my criticism of the gameplay. Don't get me wrong, I like the map idea, but the gameplay has some facets that rub me the wrong way.

The biggest thing is the terrorists. Why are they attacking refineries? On 9/11 bin Laden didn't target America's oil supply, Al Queda didn't bomb a tanker but the U.S.S. Cole and groups like the PKK, Hamas and the Uryghurs in China aren't angry about oil, its the government's (ie captials) that they fight against. Bombing BP or Shell doesn't create terror but attacking cities and populations does. For the terrorists to attack refineries seems out of line with the real world situation. The solution I propose is to have them bombard or attack metropolis' or capitals.

I think the Oil Refineries will stand nicely on their own with the bonuses they already get and dealing with standard attacks from other provinces (alternatively, capitals could one way attack or bombard refineries in their country, simulating nationalization and government's power over business in each respective country).

The next biggest complaint I have regard the unrest territories... who would ever attack those? Those territories essentially serve as standard territories and their -2 per round will never come into play given that this is a conquest style map. There is no incentive to conquer and hold those territories. The solution I propose is to give a regional bonus and an incentive for players to capture their home country. This will make the unrest zones an important part to player's strategy and reflect the difficulty and incentive that governments have to keep the breakaway provinces under their rule. Kashmir and Arunachal would work better as amplifiers to the India, China or Pakistan bonuses this way as well.

The above suggestions create problems for the current territory borders, which can be addressed once a course of action is decided upon by you two.

My next big criticism is that the central asian objective is a bit strange to me. The map reads much better as a struggle for power between the central asian powers rather than it does as a competition for those former soviet republics. An objective of holding all capitals or all terrorist groups seems better to me.

Speaking of central asia... some of the territory names ought to reflect the actual counties, such as Uzbekistan or Tajikistan rather than the names you've given them.

I'm slightly concerned that each capital does not have somewhat fair access to metropolis' whereas other capitals have excellent access. For example, Riyad is no where near a metropolis but Ankara is two territories away from two (I'd suggest adding Cairo back in).

The other major gameplay concern I have is that the starting points aren't equal in terms of opportunity and danger. Obviously a massive reorganization to make capitals equidistant would amount to ruining the map on par with Pelopennesian War's strange depiction of Classical Greece. A great balancer can be taken from Kabanellas' playbook and use the starting points at higher values and putting the rest of the map at random deployment (save for the metropolis, terrorists and unrest areas). I highly recommend you consider this.

The US fleets seems a little strange to me and I think you know this already. After thinking about how you have them operating, I think I understand what you're going for. Why not have BOTH fleets attack the terrorists? Having them bomb the capitals seems strange given the fact that the US has not, to my knowledge, bombed any of the listed capitals on the map (obviously since Baghdad and Kabul are not capitals on the map). This would seem more in line with reality.

Lastly, I'd like to see some change to the title... something about the name "The great game 2.0" just doesn't strike the mind with images of central asia.

I hope you see what I'm going for here and take my suggestions under consideration. I think you can recreate the political dynamic of modern Central Asia quite well, but as it stands there are a few oddities that need to be addressed.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:12 pm

Hi Helix,

Thanks for your very detailed comments, deserving of equally detailed replies. I will get on with it soon. Until then, do we actually get a Draft stamp for getting here? Again, not that it makes any difference personally to me, but for those commenting it's easier to see the stage we're at. Also, how do I put the stamps at the top of the first post of the thread?

Many thanks,

R.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:24 pm

Industrial Helix wrote:Alright, now that you're in the gameplay workshop I'm gonna offer my criticism of the gameplay. Don't get me wrong, I like the map idea, but the gameplay has some facets that rub me the wrong way.

The biggest thing is the terrorists. Why are they attacking refineries? On 9/11 bin Laden didn't target America's oil supply, Al Queda didn't bomb a tanker but the U.S.S. Cole and groups like the PKK, Hamas and the Uryghurs in China aren't angry about oil, its the government's (ie captials) that they fight against. Bombing BP or Shell doesn't create terror but attacking cities and populations does. For the terrorists to attack refineries seems out of line with the real world situation. The solution I propose is to have them bombard or attack metropolis' or capitals.

First, this is not an Al Queda / Bin Laden game. It's about the struggle for oil. Just look at what is happening in Nigeria, with pipelines being blown and oil diverted by insurgent groups. Remember what happened to the Kuwaiti refineries in Gulf 1? And the instability all over Central Asia, from Kurdistan all the way to Western China? This game is not supposed to reflect what has already happened, but what could easily happen and has alrready began to: systematic distruption in the supply of oil and gas as a weapon of terror. This would undermine entire economies, send prices though the roof, etc. So the emphasis is on possible future events, not past or present ones. I hope you can appreciate the different perspective and accept it as equally plausible It may not be exactly how you would do it, but it's a possible future vision, and therefore equally valid.


I think the Oil Refineries will stand nicely on their own with the bonuses they already get and dealing with standard attacks from other provinces (alternatively, capitals could one way attack or bombard refineries in their country, simulating nationalization and government's power over business in each respective country).

The next biggest complaint I have regard the unrest territories... who would ever attack those? Those territories essentially serve as standard territories and their -2 per round will never come into play given that this is a conquest style map. There is no incentive to conquer and hold those territories. The solution I propose is to give a regional bonus and an incentive for players to capture their home country. This will make the unrest zones an important part to player's strategy and reflect the difficulty and incentive that governments have to keep the breakaway provinces under their rule. Kashmir and Arunachal would work better as amplifiers to the India, China or Pakistan bonuses this way as well.

Yes, I've already thought about this and worked out the numbers, with the Excel spreadsheet, and trying not to unbalance the game too much. The result is as follows:

Eastern Europe 2, Russia 4, Kazachstan 4, Caucasus 1, Central Asia 2, China 3, India 3, Afpak 3, Iran 3, Turkey 1, Middle East 1.


The above suggestions create problems for the current territory borders, which can be addressed once a course of action is decided upon by you two.

My next big criticism is that the central asian objective is a bit strange to me. The map reads much better as a struggle for power between the central asian powers rather than it does as a competition for those former soviet republics. An objective of holding all capitals or all terrorist groups seems better to me.

A huge amount of oil and gas reserves and even more importantly piplies are on the territories of these former republics. The struggle to control them is already going on between the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran, even China. I think having this as objective is both representing a reality and making the game more interesting: you dont have to kill everyone else - just control the centre of the map (figuratively and from oil gas and pipelines perspective). Again, I think this is entirely plausible and even real to a large extent, and we should have the latitude to do it unless from the gameplay point of view there is something drastically wrong with it.

Speaking of central asia... some of the territory names ought to reflect the actual counties, such as Uzbekistan or Tajikistan rather than the names you've given them.

Yes, I agree re: names of the four smaller republics as well as the caucasian ones. i want to have Kazachstan as a separate country (10 provinces), and the other four central asian republics and three caucasian republics as to smaller bonus giving units. need to check with pamoa too though and see it this can fit on the mini map.

I'm slightly concerned that each capital does not have somewhat fair access to metropolis' whereas other capitals have excellent access. For example, Riyad is no where near a metropolis but Ankara is two territories away from two (I'd suggest adding Cairo back in).

You will note that those countries with no access to a metropolis are countries with 8 to 10 territories, and with much lower neutral counts on the country's territories - a bit like New World. THe 6 territory countries compensate for fewer territories by havinf a metropolis right next to their capitals. Especially now that we will have country bonuses there will be an incentive for each player to get all his /her country's terrritories, and I want make sure the gameplay and bonuses remain relatively balanced between small and large countries.

The other major gameplay concern I have is that the starting points aren't equal in terms of opportunity and danger. Obviously a massive reorganization to make capitals equidistant would amount to ruining the map on par with Pelopennesian War's strange depiction of Classical Greece. A great balancer can be taken from Kabanellas' playbook and use the starting points at higher values and putting the rest of the map at random deployment (save for the metropolis, terrorists and unrest areas). I highly recommend you consider this.

Yes, we could put capitals to start at +4, which with the +3 autodeploy and +3 game bonus will bring total starting numbers at 10 units, just like New World.

I am totally against putting the rest of the map at random deployment. It would become an entirely differnt game from what we are trying to do here. This is a starting points game, where the build up is slower and the latitude of players much wider than spreading territories all over the map and letting the first 3 rounds pretty much decide the outcome. This way, each player has a capital and tries to build up its own country, then win by either objective or by outright victory. The bonuses are carfefully balanced so that they are roughly in balance. It's true that on a real map threats and opportunities are never exactly the same (as they can be on an imaginary map), but I think that is part of what makes this map interesting, and all other real maps as well. In any case, even random drops can give huge advantages to one player over another. This way, at least, the bonuses are pretty well balanced between larger and smaller countries, and we will use differnt neutral territory values )varying from 1 to 6) to make sure that's the case (again, a bit in New World style).


The US fleets seems a little strange to me and I think you know this already. After thinking about how you have them operating, I think I understand what you're going for. Why not have BOTH fleets attack the terrorists? Having them bomb the capitals seems strange given the fact that the US has not, to my knowledge, bombed any of the listed capitals on the map (obviously since Baghdad and Kabul are not capitals on the map). This would seem more in line with reality.

Again, we're talking future capabilities here instead of events already past. Kabul is indeed not a capital since Afghanistan was way to small to make a major power on its own, but we do have AFPAK with Islamabad - and can you honestly say the US could never bomb it, or Teheran? Sure, bombing the major powers capitals is a bit of a stretch in real life (Moscow, Beijing, even New Delhi), but that's why this is a what-if game, looking to the future, and not Napoleon 1812, which is strictly historical. From the gameplay point of view, it gives powers having no direct access to others the capability to disrupt them temporarily by knocking off their capitals. Think cyber-warfare, for example. Plus i think it makes the game more interesting to give each US fleet a differnt capability: one disrupts anyone wanting to win by controlling all terrorists, the other disrupts players going for Central Asia by knocking off their major troop supply (+3 autodeploy gone as well as the country /region bonus). The fact that they are killer neutrals means anyone can use them at any time provided they have the troops to conquer it and enough left to do serious damage. Again, this gives players more options instead of straightjacketing them in one game=pattern only.

Lastly, I'd like to see some change to the title... something about the name "The great game 2.0" just doesn't strike the mind with images of central asia.

As you know, "The Great Game" was the name given to the conflict between Russia and the UK for the control of Central Asia in the 19th Century: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game

Today, many talk about a "New Great Game" about great-powers' conflict in the same region:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Great_Game

Hence, "The Great Game 2.0" is a way to referring to a specfic historical era and actually give the new one a catchy label. In short, it actually means something historically, and is not a purely descriptive term (like : this is a great game... )



I hope you see what I'm going for here and take my suggestions under consideration. I think you can recreate the political dynamic of modern Central Asia quite well, but as it stands there are a few oddities that need to be addressed.


Overall, i will totally take onboard your suggestions and will gladly implement the changes i mentioned above. Please have a think about the ones we disagree on and see to what extent you accept my arguments and can move my way. I have no doubt we will eventually arrive at a solution we can both live with comfortably.

Again, many thanks for your detailed comments.

R
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby natty dread on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:38 pm

Hmm. You both make such good points I can't decide who to agree with.

About the title... lack seems to be at habit of shortening too long map names for the map roster... so your map name would likely be shortened as just "Central Asia" there. Of course that doesn't stop you from having the full name on the map image itself, but still, looking at the name... there's 3 parts - "Central Asia", "The Great Game (2.0)", and "Struggle for Oil". This makes for a sort of clumsiness in the name... ideally, IMO, a title should be something strong but compact.

I would strongly suggest removing one of the elements in the name. So you could have, for example:

Central Asia - The Great Game 2.0
Central Asia: the Struggle for Oil <------------------- I like this one best
The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil
Struggle for Oil: Central Asia
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:42 pm

How about: Central Asia 2020: Struggle for Oil?

This has the added value of making it clear it's a future oriented game.

(NB you can see from my signature it is my favorite too... lol)
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby natty dread on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:46 pm

Raskholnikov wrote:How about: Central Asia 2020: Struggle for Oil?

This has the added value of making it clear it's a future oriented game.

(NB you can see from my signature it is my favorite too... lol)


Works for me :)
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:53 pm

Yey. Hope Helix and Evil will like it too.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Backside on Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:10 pm

Well... i didn't rly have to watch this map too long to see what's wrong. there is actually a reason y all games with set up positions with +x auto-deploy have distance to each others and/or big neutrals between (just checking all those out and comparing to this one, u'll see exactly what i mean ^^).

Since how it is, there i only one way to go at beginning and that's attacking neighbouring Capital at first round or soon at one of the first rounds. That will seriously mess up the game-play in most of formats. (just for example: 9(8)v4,3=57%, 9(8)v5,3=48% or even 4,1 and 1,4 which are 39%. Kiev-Moscow being obviously biggest setup) or if in like Ar Riyad u'd just farm those 1 stacks as it's most profitable (spoils/n-s) etc. regardless my point is that this is just way too simplistic and straight forward with strategy and start luck has way too big part.

Even if u intend that it'll be that way, it just won't work since it'll just ruin all other game play on the map and makes it all down to start luck (play order, drop and luck). Current format will just kill usage of all the area and make all bonuses and oil mastery (well that's obviously hard/ almost impossible in all other maps too) and other stuff going on this map useless.

So u need to make bigger gaps/neutrals or make them harder to access (starting points) or like making it so that there is no regular bonuses (so only bonuses in map count) wud propably save u from too big changes (since u wud not give +3+3 more compared to neighbouring capital which acts sooner). Well even so it wud propably still be or be even more un balanced between 4 stacked and 1 stacked nations/regions. U cud only take that min.+3 and keep other bonuses based on region count, that could do a trick too. Also one thing that came to mind that neighbouring nations territories would not border each other, but u'd need to go through one place to get across that line (like customs or what ever those were called).

Well yeah was just throwing some ideas to help u towards getting this more playable and changing the map ^^

Didn't rly form solid idea (if it's good or bad/ right or wrong) about 6th Fleet. I mean it rly makes biggest differ against aggressive noobs when it can be very scary, but so does other places currently. Then there are situation in spoils games, but also if u bombard that place to get cards (however he ended up with only having that territory) neighbouring guy can easily take that neutral 1. Well anyways wasn't rly able to form solid opinion about it.

Btw dunno if i've said this before, but u and everyone can freely send me send me questions how different changes excatly affect to gameplay with optimal strategies or with different settings or any other way. Or what ever u want to ask (that didn't mean that i want 10 PMs/h xD. what it ment was, if u have sumttin that is troubling u quite a bit and u can't decide (/it just won't click in ur brain at that moment), i can or at least will try help best i can). I'm not rly kind of guy who likes to read through forums and all posts (since i have relatively short temper when it's not about winning/problem solving/making money ^^), but I'm more than happy to give advices if u have questions. Propably not best idea to put it under one map's developement, but anyhows :P

PS. sorry if i missed some rules u made during thread and made useless or known points cos of that.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby natty dread on Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:51 am

Backside makes a good point.

Moskow-Kiev, Ar-Riyad-Teheran, New Delhi-Islamabad, New Delhi-Beijing... That's 7 starting positions out of 8 having good chances for a 1st round elimination.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:36 am

We'll need to adjust the neutrals levels between them.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby natty dread on Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:01 am

I'd say you'd need at least 10 neutrals between each capital.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:55 pm

10 is a lot; don;t you think 8 will do - esp if we raise the starting points troop number to 4? That means a 10 troop starting point has 9 armies to kill 8 neutrals plus 4 already deployed troops on the other starting point. a 9 v. 12 is not good odds, esp since even a miss by 1 will lead inevitably to one's own elimination....
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby natty dread on Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:08 pm

Raskholnikov wrote:10 is a lot; don;t you think 8 will do - esp if we raise the starting points troop number to 4? That means a 10 troop starting point has 9 armies to kill 8 neutrals plus 4 already deployed troops on the other starting point. a 9 v. 12 is not good odds, esp since even a miss by 1 will lead inevitably to one's own elimination....


10 vs 12 is not uncommon to win. 10 vs 14 would be better IMHO. It gives a better buffer, preventing the game from degenerating into a bloody dice war...
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby Raskholnikov on Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:34 pm

ok will plan accordingly.
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Re: Central Asia: The Great Game 2.0 - Struggle for Oil

Postby MarshalNey on Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:41 pm

Sorry to take so long to give this a review... it's actually a day overdue 8-[

Well, let me start with what I like. I call it this section-
WHAT I LIKE
1) Variety. I like the variety of bonuses and hazards, and the thematic elements as well- terrorism, nationalism and the competition for oil resources.
2) Political Theme. This map deals with our current reality with a mature political lens.
3) Multiple Avenues. I like the dual victory objective (although one of them is far easier- see my concerns) and the multiple ways to attack each other, through terrorists or fleets, by land or by sea.

MY CONCERNS
Again I apologize for the delay in the fortnightly critique. However, part of the trouble I had in writing a review was that I'm not getting a good feel of the gameplay flow; I understand all of the parts in the legend individually, but as a whole it doesn't "click". Perhaps it's because there seem to be antagonistic gameplay elements at work here, so I can't get a good sense of what you're trying to accomplish. For instance:

1) A Large Map That Seems Cramped. It's a rather large conquest map, yet the starting positions are insanely close to each other (I know that you've recently had a discussion about this, but I have reservations about the 'solution'- see point 3 below) and can bombard each other through a killer neutral 3.
2) Oil Is Icky. The theme is supposed to center around oil, but in fact they are the least attractive bonuses on the map. They produce fewer troops for the number of regions held, in addition to rather significant negatives in taking and holding them- the teleporting terrorists in the case of refineries and the killer neutral seas in the case of tankers.
3) Not Enough Gravy. You seem to want players to try to go out and construct empires, yet there's not a lot of umph provided at the start when compared with the relatively high average neutral values out there. This could make for frustrating times where the dice play an even more significant role than usual.
4) Terrorists Trump Oil Fields. The Victory Objective seems to offer two possibilities, yet only one of them looks realistic- the terrorists.
5) Revolts... Yawn. There are 'civil unrest' regions that are clearly meant to factor into the gameplay, yet they are completely avoidable due to the apparent lack of impassibles or continent bonuses.

The map's clarity is also a bit of an issue when analyzing the gameplay, but I think I understand the elements well enough so that can wait. For now, my biggest concerns lie with the starting points and the large amount of 'inert' or even 'conflicting' gameplay elements.

My advice is to ask yourselves what are the essential gameplay mechanics, and go from there. For instance, does this map absolutely need to be a conquest map? If the answer if 'yes' (and you have a good reason why it's yes), then that's a start. If the answer is 'no, but it'd be really nice', well then you know it's not an essential mechanic. Once I have an idea of what you see as being essential, then I can give further recommendations.
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